State of emergency declared in Thailand
The government of Thailand has declared a state of emergency for 60 days in Bangkok and nearby provinces to deal with antigovernment protesters who have been blocking parts of the capital for the last two months.
Since 13th January the demonstrators have partially shutdown Bangkok, erecting road blocks and staging rallies at intersections in order to overthrow the current Thai prime minster, Yingluck Shinawatra, and establish an unelected “people’s council”.
At a news conference yesterday, Thailand’s deputy prime minister, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, said: “The cabinet has decided to invoke the emergency decree to take care of the situation and to enforce the law, as well as to curb the spread of distorted information that incites chaos and division, which affects the country’s security.”
The move follows weeks of mass rallies in the city that have led to violence, including grenade attacks and shootings.
Although the number of protesters has fallen since the middle of last week, dozens of people were wounded and one killed in opposition rallies on Friday and Sunday.
Thailand’s labour minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, who will oversee the implementation of the emergency decree, said: “Thailand would abide by international standards”.
Experts say the protests have begun to weaken South-East Asia’s biggest economy. On Monday, the Thai subsidiary of auto giant Toyota Motor Corp, and one of Thailand’s biggest foreigner investors, said “it might reconsider a £365 million spending plan and even cut production if the unrest continues”.
The last state of emergency in Bangkok was imposed in 2010 when two months of mass protests led to bloodshed and violence killing 90 and injuring nearly 1,900 people.